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What if my spouse died and never updated their will?

On Behalf of | May 19, 2023 | Estate Litigation, Probate |

Losing a loved one is never easy. It is especially not easy when it is someone you share a home and life with every day. But, what happens if your spouse never updated their will to include you after you got married? Are you able to inherit any of the estate?

Elective share for spouses

Florida law specifically allows spouses to seek part of their spouse’s estate, even if they are not named explicitly in the existing will. If the person administering the will tells you that because you are not named that you are not due any portion of the estate of your spouse, but you were legally married to the deceased, the person administering the will is likely wrong.

Florida law defines your elective share as 30% of the estate. But, note that your right to assert an elective share can be waived or removed, if you signed a legally enforceable contract stating so. And, your circumstances may justify a higher percentage.

When your needs and wants change, so too should your estate plan

Writing a Florida estate plan may seem like a daunting task, and once you finish, it may seem like what is done is done. But, with any life changes, you should always consider updating your will and estate documents.

For example, getting divorced or married may alter who you would like to include in your estate plan. Facing illness or traumatic injury may make you consider or reconsider guardianship or medical power of attorney plans.

Florida probate, like many states, has specific laws surrounding wills and succession. But, you also deserve the dignity to assert your wishes into your estate plan. With many legal areas, prevention is the best medicine. This is especially true with estate planning.